Paperback Writer Chats with Hank Quense author of Falstaff’s Big Gamble

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Author Hank Quense

About Hank Quense

Award-winning author Hank Quense writes humorous fantasy and sci-fi stories. His motto is fantasy and sci-fi stories told with humor and satire. He has over forty published short stories and a number of nonfiction articles. On occasion, he also writes an article on fiction writing or book marketing but says that writing nonfiction is like work while writing fiction is fun. He refuses to write serious genre fiction saying there is enough of that on the front page of any daily newspaper and on the evening TV news.  Hank lives in Bergenfield, NJ with his wife Pat. They have two daughters and five grandchildren.

Hank’s previous works include Zaftan Enterprises, Zaftan Miscreants and Tales From Gundarland, a collection of fantasy stories.  Readers Favorite awarded the book a medal and EPIC designated it a finalist in its 2011 competition.  His Fool’s Gold is a retelling of the ancient Rhinegold myth and Tunnel Vision is a collection of twenty previously published short stories.  Build a Better Story is a book of advice for fiction writers.

Find Hank at his sites where you can follow his work and his occasional rants:

Hank’s Blog:

Strange Worlds website:

Follow him on twitter:

Facebook fan pages:

Falstaff’s Big Gamble

About Falstaff’s Big Gamble

This novel is Shakespeare’s Worst Nightmare.
It takes two of the Bard’s most famous plays, Hamlet and Othello, and recasts them in Gundarland.  There, Hamlet becomes a dwarf and Othello a dark elf and Iago and his wife, Emilia, are trolls.
If that isn’t bad enough, these two tragedies are now comedies with Falstaff, Shakespeare’s most popular rogue, thrown in as a bonus.
Both Hamlet and Othello are plagued by the scheming Falstaff, who embezzles money from Othello.  After Hamlet becomes king (with help from Falstaff) the rogue becomes the dark nemesis behind throne.

About The Strange Worlds of Hank Quense

Hank Quense has written about the Strange Worlds that he has developed as a background to many of the books he has written. One of these worlds is called Gundarland, a planet inhabited by humans and fantasy creatures. The second is Zaftan 31B, home world of the alien race known as Zaftans. The books contain information on culture, races, religion, politics and other topics. His latest book in this series is Zaftan Enterprises.



Q: Will you share with us how you came up with the idea for this book? 

A: I love writing Shakespearean spoofs.  I’ve redone Romeo and Juliet, the Merchant of Venice and I wrote a sequel to MacBeth using the Wyrd Sisters.  All of those were short stories.  For a long time, I’ve wanted to spoof Hamlet and also Othello.  During that time I could never get one of these short stories to click.  One day, I decided to combine the two and see if anything would happen.  It didn’t, because I didn’t have anything to connect the two.  In desperation, I tried adding Falstaff to the mix.  In a flash of intuition, everything fell into place.  I knew the ending, I knew the plot, I knew the character interactions, I knew the characters’ motivations.  All I had to do was get it down on paper.


Q: Do you plan your stories first with an outline or does it come to you as write it?

A: I spend large gobs of time designing the stories, but I don’t outline.  What I do is spend gobs of time creating characters, building plots and all the other details before I start writing the first draft.  Once I have the design work finished, I mind map the whole thing instead of writing an outline.


Q: Do you know the end of the story at the beginning?

A: No, but I don’t start designing the story until I do come up with an ending,  That’s my cue that I have a story to write.  If I don’t know the ending, the story idea is just that; an idea that’s not worth working on yet.


Q: Do you have a process for developing your characters?

A: I have an extensive and detailed character sheet I use to focus my character development


Q: It is said that authors write themselves into their characters. Is there any part of you in your characters and what they would be?

A: Some of my characters have a heavy dose of cynicism that comes from my own character.


Q: What is your most favorite part about this book?

A:  A subplot I wrote for Emilia after the story was written.  I was editing it and noticed that the Emilia character didn’t really do anything.  In other words, there was no need for her to be in the book.  So I wrote her a subplot and had a great deal for fun doing it.


Q: What struggles have you had on the road to being published?

A: Getting published is fairly easy these days.  Much harder than getting published is marketing and selling the book.  Everything else pales compared to that hurdle and it isn’t nearly as much fun as writing is.


Q: What has been the best part about being published?

A: The look on my young grandkids’ faces when I show them another new book.


Q: What do you want readers to remember and carry with them after reading your novel?

A: Despite my harsh treatment of Shakespeare, I hope readers realize how great his characters, plots and plays are.  Perhaps, my version will lead readers to investigate other Shakespeare plays.


Q: Do you have plans to write another book?


A: I have plans to write a number of books.  I’m currently working another book that takes place in Gundarland — probable title, The Swineriders of Doom.  I’m also starting work on book three of the Zaftan trilogy.  I also have two more in various stages of undesign.





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